Strive to Thrive: Arianna Huffington on Redefining Success

  • By Marianne Schnall
  • April 05, 2014

Arianna Huffington redefines success

For Arianna Huffington, the dynamic founder behind The Huffington Post, it took a conk to the head to trigger a life-changing wake-up call. After collapsing from total exhaustion one day back in April of 2007, Arianna hit her head on her desk, cutting her eye and breaking her cheekbone, which compelled her to re-examine her priorities.

As one of the world's most influential women, she was, by conventional definitions of success, extremely successful.  But in the days following her traumatic injury, having worked "eighteen hours a day, seven days a week" for years to build Huffington Post, she asked herself, "Was this the life I really wanted? What kind of success was I after?"

After some serious soul-searching and inner reflection, Arianna came to the realization that something needed to change. In her inspiring new book, “THRIVE: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-being, Wisdom, and Wonder” she shares her transformative journey in the hopes that her experience will help enlighten others and chart a positive new direction forward in our work and personal lives.

In “THRIVE,” Arianna presents an enlightened vision of an evolutionary shift in our consciousness and culture, and a new paradigm of  what it means to lead a "successful" life, resulting in a deeper connection to our sense of self and the world around us. She spoke with us about the book and about her own challenges managing her time and balancing the demands of a busy career and raising two daughters, the legendary Huffington Post “nap rooms” and the benefits of meditation, mindfulness, and giving. 

DailyWorth: How would you describe the "Third Metric" of success?
Arianna Huffington: Over time our society’s notion of success has been reduced to money and power. In fact, at this point, success, money, and power have practically become synonymous in the minds of many. This idea of success can work — or at least appear to work — in the short term. But over the long term, money and power by themselves are like a two-legged stool — you can balance on them for a while, but eventually you’re going to topple over. 

More and more people — very successful people — are toppling over. To live the lives we truly want and deserve, and not just the lives we settle for, we need a Third Metric, a third measure of success that goes beyond the two metrics of money and power, and consists of four pillars: well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving.

Why did you decide to direct this book primarily towards women and what do you hope most people will take away from reading it?
If we’re going to redefine what success means, if we are going to include a Third Metric to success, beyond money and power, it’s going to be women who will lead the way — and men, freed of the notion that the only road to success includes taking the Heart Attack Highway to Stress City, will gratefully join both at work and at home.

I hope the book's impact will lie in helping us make room in our definition of success for well-being, wisdom, wonder, compassion and giving, and to help us move from knowing what we need to do to actually doing it.

What advice do you have for women who are often struggling to balance it all, and don't prioritize their own self-care?
The better people are at taking care of themselves, the more effective they’ll be in taking care of others, including their families, co-workers, communities and their fellow citizens. When you’re on an airplane you’re told to “secure your own mask first before helping others,” even your own child. After all, it’s not easy to help somebody else breathe easier if you’re fighting for air yourself. 

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